GICC updates building with 25 new security doors

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Safety is becoming a more of a priority for administrators at a time when school threats and shootings are at an all time high.

That's why one Grand Island school is taking more measures to increase security at their building.

Students and staff returned to Grand Island Central Catholic after winter break to find that 25 doors were replaced.

"They lock automatically when you close the door. I think that's safe, and cool. If someone tries to break in or open the door when the door's not locked, with the old doors, they could easily get in," said Kylan Puente, a student at Central Catholic.

Jordan Engle, the principal at Central Catholic, said they started the replacement process last summer to prepare themselves and the building for lockdown situations.

All classroom doors were replaced. One of the top safety features is that the doors are locked from the outside. They can only be opened with a key, or if someone on the inside opens the door.

Engle said the doors have narrow windows that are shatter resistant, making them ideal for lockdowns.

"The shocking statistic that you hear again and again in school safety training is that only one person has ever died behind a locked door in a school. So having locked doors, having doors that actually lock with new knobs, because some of the knobs have worn out, it's a big step forward in school safety," Engle said.

The old doors are originals from when the building was built in the 1950s. They have large windows, which aren't safe for lockdowns. They also aren't fire rated.

These issues were all corrected when the new doors were put in.

The doors cost about $25,000. The money came from part of the funds from the school's Go Big Give campaign.

Engle said they found a few more doors they're planning on replacing in the near future. He said Grand Island police will check the doors during the school's next lockdown.

"There's no such place as it doesn't happen here. If you go back and look at interviews after every school shooting that's what everybody says, "we had no idea this could happen here," well it can. We pray that it never does, but it certainly can," Engle said.